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tv   MSNBC News Live  MSNBC  March 6, 2011 10:00am-11:00am EST

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in the streets of libya's capital a victory celebration. the big question, who's celebrating and why? it follows another day of fierce fighting in parts of the country. stormy weather. a tornado tears through one town with deadly consequences as flood waters rise in the midwest. we have live reports ahead. he's back on the air, sort of. charlie sheen starts -- stars, rather, in his own online show, but is it winning? reviews are in. and sleep on it. why are so many americans going without their zs? and why is it so dangerous? good morning, everyone. i'm alex witt, and this is "msnbc sunday." it is the top of the hour, 10:00
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a.m. on the east coast, 7:00 a.m. out west, and we begin with big news from the white house this morning. the president's chief of staff says the administration could make a rare move to help knock down rising gas prices. just this morning nbc's david gregory asked whether the white house would consider tapping the strategic oil reserves to help ease the pain at the pump. >> the issue of the reserves is one we're considering. it is something that only is done -- has been done in very rare occasions. there's a bunch of factors that have to be looked at. >> but it's on the table, which i think is a significant development. >> well, all matters have to be on the able when you go through -- when you see the difficulty coming out of this economic crisis we're in and the fragilety of it. >> mike viqueira, good sunday morning tourks mike. >> good morning, alex. >> so what all would go into a decision like that? >> reporter: well, you know, there are millions of gallons of oil underneath the earth's surface along the gulf coast in these big old salt domes. they call it the strategic reserve. we've talked about it a lot of
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times in the past. was last tapped into after some of the major hurricanes that hit the gulf coast, as it happens, katrina and so forth. it's only supposed to be used if there is a major disruption in the supply of oil. we're not necessarily seeing that now. but what we are seeing, alex, is $3.50 a gallon gas. that is the national average. the running daily average this morning as announced by the aaa over the course of the last week. that price has gone up 15 cents. 39 cents over the last month alone. and people are concerned not only on the impact that's going to have on a still fragile economy, when people are devoting more and more of their paychecks to buying gas, but also it is always a political volatile issue, democrats in particular have been calling over the course of the last week for the administration to release some of that oil from the spro, as they call, it their favorite acronym around washington, to pry to alleviate some of the upward pressure on the price of gas. a lot of people think it's the wrong way to go. there has been no major
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disruption, even with libya. libya supplies just 2% of the world's oil production. most of that going to europe. saudi arabia said it would pick up the slack. still, a very volatile issue. a wide-ranging interview today from the newly installed chief of staff bill daley here in the west wing on "meet the press." another issue that came to the fore, speaking of libya-s another controversial issue, whether or not to impose a no-fly zone to be administered by nato, much like we saw in iraq and before that in bosnia to try to keep moammar gadhafi's government from flying these missions and fighting against the revolutionaries, the uprising in places like benghazi and other places, now still -- now still held by rebels as of this morning. here's what bill daley had to say about that issue. >> well, you know, lots of people throw around phrases of "no-fly zone" and they talk about it as though it's just a game out of -- a video game or something. and some people who throw that line out have no idea what they're talking about.
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the president knows that the ultimate decision he has to make at sometimes is to put men and women in harm's way. >> you know, add to all of these considerations, alex, the fact that the state department just this morning has advised u.s. citizens either to get out of yemen, another hot spot on the saudi arabian peninsula, because of terrorist activities and civil unrest there, and if you had plans to go there do not go there. they're also issuing a voluntary evacuation of u.s. dependents of diplomats who are in that country, alex. >> makes sense. thanks so much, mike viqueira at the white house. heavy rain, wind, and snow is hammering the northeast and mid-atlantic states today. that front brought violent weather to the south yesterday. a tornado in louisiana killed a young mother as she was trying to protect her child. the twister completely destroyed 60 homes just in the town of rain. then up porth the storm soaked the midwest, where some flood warnings remain in effect until wednesday now. swollen rivers caused road closures in several states including indiana and ohio. so how much punch will this
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storm system pack today? the weather channel's alex wallace joining me with more. good sunday morning to you, alex. >> good morning to you, too. and you know, the punch this time around, not necessarily tornados or severe weather but the heavy rain. and here's our storm system. you can see the cloud cover up and down the east coast. underneath those clouds. well, we've got quite a bit of rain. and because of that flood watches spreading across the area pretty much from new england all the way down into northern georgia. a lot of these lasting through at least our tomorrow morning out there. so we'll be watching some of those rivers as they start to come up a little bit. here's the radar. you can clearly see all the rain where you have the green, some of those yellows start to show up. that's where it's coming down fairly heavily for you out there west of philadelphia. and then we have some colder air punching on in, catching up to some of this moisture. it's snow. upstate new york working all the way down even into parts of the central appalachian chain and spottier showers as we head on toward the south. if you're doing any traveling for the day, there will be some airport delays no doubt about it through the carolinas and where we have some of those showers and storms setting up into
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florida and then farther north where we have some of that snow we'll be watching for some of those delays there right around pittsburgh and the rain with the wind as well. new york city all the major hubs here, all the way down toward d.c. some of these areas here up in new england picking up one to two inches of rain, maybe even some higher totals possible, latter amounts, though, as we head on off farther toward the south. so a pretty soggy end of the weekend on the east coast, alex. >> thank you for the heads-up nonetheless. rain boots, coats, umbrellas, everyone. alex wallace, thank you. for your latest weather information you can log on to where else, two major developing stories out of libya this hour. supporters of moammar gadhafi have gathered to celebrate in tripoli's green square where the government claims it recaptured several towns held by rebel forces. but it's a much different scene east of the capital, where libyan warplanes are launching air strikes against the opposition. pro-gadhafi ground forces are also battling with rebels as they try to advance toward tripoli. let's go live once again to tripoli and nbc chief foreign
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correspondent richard engel. with another good sunday to you, richard. we are seeing this new fighting today outside of tripoli, but the situation now in the capital, what is it like? >> reporter: it is a very strange situation. it is sometimes a little bit like "alice in wonderland." alex, do you remember the last days of the iraq war, when saddam hussein -- or the early days of the iraq war, when saddam hussein was still in power and his information minister used to come out and tell the world that everything was fine, that the americans weren't even in the country, that everyone in the media was getting it wrong? well, it's starting to feel like that here in tripoli as well. the journalists are kept in two main hotels in the city, and we are given constant briefings by the libyan government, telling us that everything is fine, that the world is -- that the war is almost over, that the rebels are losing, that they are losing their morale rngs th, that thes qaeda-inspired terrorists who are addicted to drugs, that they
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are slitting the throats of women in the streets. then when we speak to witnesses in these villages and we speak to our own reporters who are on the scene in the battlefield of eastern libya, we're hearing a totally different picture. that the rebels are advancing from the east, they are taking up positions in two strategic towns, one about 30 miles west of here in tripoli, the other about 150 miles to the east of tripoli. so in the center of the city there is a propaganda bubble. and the people are being told by the government, by state television, go out, you're winning, the rebels who are these al qaeda drug addict terrorists are losing, go out and celebrate. and that's what people did here today, even as the war is advancing and closing in on the libyan capital. >> mohammed saeed al sahaf, that was the guy who'd put out those statements, and you'd go, really? so it's a very good analogy.
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>> reporter: baghdad bob. >> yeah. what about the rebels being able to advance into tripoli? i mean, in terms of a fortification around that city or anywhere where moammar gadhafi is, i mean, that's got to be where it is the most concentrated, you'd think. >> reporter: they have not been able to advance into the center of tripoli itself. this remains a gadhafi stronghold. his supporters are out on the streets. the city itself is ringed with many checkpoints, including armored vehicles. the two war fronts here, the one on the east that is making its very slow advance toward the west, toward tripoli, where i am right now, they still have 400 miles to go. 400 miles of open desert, passing through gadhafi's hometown. these are rebels that many of them had no military training before. they don't have aircraft. they don't have militarized, mechanized vehicles. some are just traveling in pickup trucks or their own private cars. they're not going to get here in
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any large force anytime soon. assuming that they can even get through gadhafi's hometown, which is the town of sert. the rebels are worried about spreading their supply line too thin. benghazi, which is their main stronghold, they're holding that, and they're holding that fairly securely. but as they're moving out and coming closer to tripoli and coming closer to gadhafi's hometown, sert, they're getting more and more exposed and that's where you're seeing gadhafi's forces attacking them. here in tripoli and in the towns around us the fighting has so far been mostly contained to two towns, one called zawiya, which has seen really heavy fighting over the last three days, and the other misratah, where the libyan forces, gadhafi forces have tried to go in but today we were told by witnesses were pushed out by protesters in the town, by rebels in the town. >> okay. richard engel, thank you very much, as always. as those deadly battles
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break out across libya, tens of thousands of people are fleeing the country into neighboring tunisia. in fact, right now there are about 25,000 refugees at one camp in tunisia just three miles from the libyan border. a representative from tunisia's equivalent to the red cross says that organization is providing them with food, tents, and a place to wash. a northwestern university professor has issued a new apology of sorts after he allowed a live demonstration in connection with his human sexuality class. psychology professor jay michael bailey says he's sorry he allowed a pair of guest speakers to perform a live sex act in front of students last month but he still sees absolutely no harm in what took place. there's the of sorts part. the school has launched an investigation. investigators in connecticut say the man suspected of being the infamous east coast rapist tried to commit suicide while in police custody. my colleague nbc's richard lui is here with the latest on this story. good morning to you, richard. >> good morning, alex. the arrest of the alengd east coast rapist as you mentioned yesterday, brought relief to victims yesterday as police announced formal charges against the connecticut man taken into custody.
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39-year-old aaron thomas, the man accused of being the east coast rapist, has been released from a connecticut hospital after trying to hang himself in his new haven jail cell on saturday. it comes a day after police arrested thomas after a tip linked him to 17 rapes and sexual assaults beginning in 1997. >> it was right over there, those apartments over there where he raped her at. >> reporter: most of the attacks were in the washington, d.c. area and then spread into new england. the suspect became known as the east coast rapist. after 14 years of scouring crime scenes, police had little evidence. victims' accounts led to these sketches and reports he had a low voice and chipped tooth. in that time a six-inch knife was the only object police were able to recover. hungry for new leads, authorities one week ago put up electronic billboards in seven states up and down interstate 95, directing people to a website that resulted in tens of thousands of tips. one of which pointed to aaron thomas. police tracked their suspect to a connecticut courthouse, where
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he was facing unrelated charges, and during his lunch break, when thomas tossed a cigarette butt, detectives got the break they've been waiting for. it was right out of a scene from "law & order." >> your son smokes? >> no. i do. >> thank you. >> the lab pulled mark duffy's dna off his cigarette. it's going to take at least a week to run it for a match for our suspect. >> reporter: but in this case analyzing the saliva on the cigarette butt took only a day. >> dna was collected and subsequently matched by the connecticut state forensic sciences lab, confirming that thomas was the east coast rapist. >> and that's when we all learned that we had these connecting cases, was through dna. >> reporter: thomas is being held on $1 million bail and expected to undergo a psych evaluation. he faces multiple charges including rape and sexual assault and is due in court on monday. now, at the news conference on saturday new haven police did say that although information developed quickly over the last week as it was just said,
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investigators have been working tirelessly for years pursuing this case. and alex, next hour new details on who aaron thomas is. >> we'll wait for that, then. thank you so much, richard lui. the unemployment line is getting shorter, but does that mean more people will be able to find a job? and conservatives want him for president. but is mike huckabee talking himself out of serious contention? you're watching "msnbc sunday." "you just beat the widow-maker." i was put on an aspirin, and it's part of my regimen now. [ male announcer ] be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin an aspirin regimen. go see your doctor now.
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tornados slam louisiana, killing a 21-year-old mother who was shielding her daughter, and injuring a dozen other people. authorities say many of the more than 100 homes hit by the twisters were completely destroyed. the weather channel's eric fisher is live for us in rain, louisiana, which has a five-mile path of destruction. it must be just an incredible sight. good morning, eric. >> reporter: good morning, alex.
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hello there, everybody. you know, we're looking at a scene of total devastation for several neighborhoods throughout rayn. i'm standing next to a couple of cars here. you have to envision the scene here yesterday, around 10:00 a.m. a tornado starts to work its way into town. these cars were shoved into each other. but i also noticed this is a piece of someone's house. a two-by-four that went right through the back window. i didn't put it there. hopefully, there was no one in the car at the time. slid right through the window, blew it out, and landed into the passenger's seat. so certainly it was a violent afternoon. you can see the homes behind me where the roofs were taken right off. and down the street this morning we are starting to see some of the crews getting out and trying to repair the damage. and pick up some of the trees. you can see some of these crews are also working on the gas lines, which started to leak yesterday. homes shifting. some pipes were ruptured. the natural gas leak led to evacuations in this town. the folks are still not allowed back into their homes. they're going to go door by door today to determine if each house is actually safe for people to go back to. this is not a place where tornados are all that unusual. and acadia parish, where we are,
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we're talking about a place that has seen 70 tornados in the last 60 years. this parish alone averages more than one tornado every single year. alex? >> so frightening to have that to look forward to or not every year. thank you, eric fisher. more fallout from mike huckabee's recent comments about pregnancy out of wedlock. let's listen to what sparked the controversy. >> one of the things that's troubling is that people see a natalie portman or some other hollywood starlet who boast of hey, look, you know, we're having children, we're not married but we're having these children and they're doing just fine. most single moms are very poor, uneducated, can't get a job, and if it weren't for government assistance their kids would be starving to death and never have health care. it's unfortunate that we glorify and glamorize the idea of out of children wedlock. >> meanwhile, the latest nbc news/"wall street journal" poll among republican voters shows the former governor leading the list of potential candidates. robert trainham hosts "roll call
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tv" and is the d.c. bureau chief for the comcast network. good morning, good to see you, robert. >> good morning. good to see you, alex. >> huckabee is clearly the favorite among conservative republicans and that's of course the key to winning the nomination, most would suggest. so why is he engaging in this? is it just to sell books? because doesn't it hurt him politically in the long run? i mean, nomination aside, that's going to be a hard stance to try to appeal to in the center of the country and we all know an election's won in that middle 10% or so. >> you're exactly right, alex. but two things. first, yes, he is trying to sell books. first and foremost that is his number one priority. but his second priority because it's one and the same is perhaps if he's running for president is to win the primaries. remember, alex, it's really two races when you're running for president. the first race is in the republican caucuses in new hampshire, in iowa, in south carolina. and those caucuses are extremely conservative. so when you speak to the base, you literally are joining up the base. and of course secondly, once you win the nomination, you move to
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the center for the general election. so you know, governor huckabee, although his comments are a little bit jarring, they do speak to the base, no question about it. >> okay. now, he's defending himself in a way. let's listen to this. >> i understand something, that a lot of people who talk about this stuff don't. when you have unwed mothers, you have a high propensity toward lack of education, lack of the ability to get a job, and their children are going to live their entire lives in poverty. >> so huckabee's not really saying anything new here. is he digging himself deeper? >> well, remember, dan quayle said something very similar to this back in 1992 up against -- with "murphy brown." fast forward to a couple years ago a lot of folks out there say you know, what he has a point. is he digging himself deeper? kind of. but remember, if in fact he's running for president, he's speaking to that very conservative base. and also, remember, he's got a large following with his fox news program, and so to a certain degree he's kind of preaching to the choir. >> okay. people, robert, as you've heard, i'm sure, calling him a
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hypocrite. they're wondering why he didn't single out, say, bristol palin's unwed motherhood. in fact, he called it shameful for the media to criticize palin saying -- the quote was, "we saw a mother who gave her unconditional love to her daughter. that embodies what christianity means. we all mess up. the issue i see, how we respond to it." >> well, alex, sounds like he probably has a little bit of amnesia there where perhaps intuitively he was backing governor palin, then governor palin and her daughter, but thus in the process very quickly forgot that he said those comments a few years ago when he made those comments a few days ago about natalie portman. >> so you think he thought at the time there was room for forgiveness because she was sarah palin's daughter? >> and she was a republican. absolutely. >> okay. robert trainham, we're going to see more from you later this morning. thank you. >> thank you. if you are trying to get by on a little sleep, you have plenty of company. in just a moment we'll have the serious side of the effects of sleep deprivation. i bet half of you are suffering from it, right? if not more. you're watching "msnbc sunday." [ female announcer ] in the past 10 years
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not getting enough sleep? well, it's a problem so many of us complain about. now some new eye-opening information. getting too little causes a lot more problems than you might think. joining me now from cleveland, ohio is sleep expert dr. rena mira, medical director of the adult sleep lab at university hospital's case medical center. doctor, good morning. >> good morning to you. >> so according to this new survey from the cdc, more than 1/3 of us get less than seven hours of sleep. how much sleep does the average person need? is that enough, seven hours? >> it's really recommended that the average adult obtain seven to eight hours of sleep in order tobeneficially and also for the most health. >> seven to eight hours. how realistic is this? >> i think it is realistic. i think if you look at data back from the 1950s until now we are an average as a society getting an hour less sleep than we used to. and so i think this is for a
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variety of reasons we're trying to squeeze more into our day, you know, more stress and so forth. but i think if we really make it a point to prioritize sleep getting that seven to eight hours of sleep is really achievable. >> how about people who work overnight shifts? are they able to get seven to eight hours of sleep with the daylight and with kind of the normalcy of the world, the majority of people, you know, going about their things while they're sleeping? >> yeah, i think that gets into circadian rhythm issues and there are different challenges when you have that going on. but once again getting that seven to eight hours of sleep, if you, for instance, try to keep the bedroom a good safe quiet place and just engage in good sleep hygiene procedures i think it is achievable. >> getting less sleep than you need can really get scary according to the cdc. one in 20 americans admitted to falling asleep at the wheel. what do we do to eliminate this? is there a lesson to learn? >> there definitely is.
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as you quoted the statistic, it's really an astounding number of people that are not getting sufficient sleep, that are getting less than that seven to eight hours of sleep. and a lot of those folks then have drowsy driving symptoms as a result. 5% of those polled actually have drowsy driving symptoms. and so the key really is getting -- one of the keys is getting sufficient sleep. so getting that seven to eight hours really is very key in helping us to maintain our vigilance, our reaction time, our information processing, which are all key attributes that you need when you're driving, for instance. >> is there anything beyond that that brings you grave concern if we're not getting our sleep -- i mean, it's one thing to feel tired and not be completely sharp on your toes. there are? days i come into work because i have some crazy hours and i think without my coffee there's just no way i could do it. so beyond that, though, are there things you worry about? >> absolutely. so the more immediate ramifications are things like your reaction time, vigilance, drowsy driving. but there are longer-term ramifications that are very
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negative as well as far as not getting enough sleep. things such as compromise in your immune function, increased risk for cardiovascular disease. there's been a reality of literature that's accumulated showing that over time there's an increased risk for obesity and even increased risk of mortality or increased risk of dying as well. >> you know, there are times when you think i'm doeg to push it for two weeks then i'm going to have that one day where i'm just going to sleep 14 hours. can you catch up? >> with acute sleep deprivation a lot of us will try to do that. we don't get enough sleep and then we try to catch up the next day, try to nap. and acutely that may be okay. but over the long term if you have chronic partial sleep deprivation a lot of the data out there is showing that it really has adverse effects on your overall health. >> pretty sobering discussion we're having here, dr. reen reena mehra thank you very much. >> thank you. the unemployment rate is going down but can we expect it to fall? we're going to take a look at
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at 32 past the hour i'm alex witt and here are a few of the day's top stories for you. the city of rayne, louisiana is recovering from a dornd that killed a young mother who was shielding her daughter from the approaching storm. the twister injured 11 other people and damaged more than 100 homes. the justice department has fined 21 major international airlines for price fixing between the years 2000 and 2006. the feds say the scheme cost travelers hundreds of millions of dollars. no major u.s. carriers were involved. and the air force has successfully launched an experimental space plane. the mission remains largely secret, but officials say the unmanned craft will be used to test satellite sensors and systems. new reports of fierce fighting in libya today between the opposition and forces loyal to moammar gadhafi. rebels are clashing with pro-gadhafi ground forces as they try to make their way toward the capital of tripoli. now, at the same time the libyan government is claiming this morning that it has recaptured
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several towns held by the rebels. joining me live now, david roth koff, contributor with foreign policy magazine. david-g morning. >> good morning. >> so when you look at the situation going on right now in libya-s there a tipping point you see for u.s. military intervention or even a place at which the u.s. would be willing to arm the rebels? >> i think there may be a place where the u.s. might help arm the rebels. i don't see u.s. military intervention in this or any of these other conflicts in the region. it's just not in the appetite of the american people right now. >> okay. what about best case/worst case scenarios for qulalibya? how do you see this playing out? >> well, i think that right now there's no putting libya back together. you're probably going to end up with a divided libya where the rebels control most of what's in the east or you're going to end up with the rebels ultimately winning. and i think over time, whether that's a couple of weeks or a couple of months or a little bit longer, gadhafi can't hold on
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and the rebels will win. and i think these reports that are being spread right now from the government seem to be specious and are being contradicted all over the place by the rebels and by multiple media organizations. >> yeah, david, you know, we talk about it being split up into different parts. this is exactly what secretary of state hillary clinton has said she does not want to have happen as has been the case in somalia with all these different tribal factions taking over and really splintering the country. how concerned are you that if that happens that opens up the door for a wave of terrorism-type activities throughout not only the middle east but perhaps over here on our shores? >> well, look, i think anytime one of these states veers toward becoming a failed state because there's no strong central government, there's no law, what happens typically is that bad elements seep in. those are kind of like the cracks in the surface of the planet. and the bad elements seep in. and that's where you get terrorist cells and others taking root. and i think that's why secretary clinton is against it. my sense is, though, that what is far more likely here is the
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fast or slow destruction of the gadhafi regime. i don't really see that they can hold on indefinitely. >> how about libya becoming at risk of -- at greater risk rather of becoming a terrorism-sponsored state? >> well, first of all, libya was a terrorism sponsoring state. libya's been a bad actor for a lot of the past couple of decades. so this wouldn't exactly be new. but i do think to the extent to which rebels take hold and to the extent to which there is any kind of movement toward democracy i think that that possibly diminishes that. and frankly, there are a lot of other places in the world that look more hospitable to terrorists than a churning libya, which is right across the mediterranean from europe where there's quite a bit of western involvement already. >> david, if libya's responsible for about 2% of the world's oil output, how much is the united states concerned about the oil angle in all of this? >> well, i think we're concerned
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about the oil angle and frankly as oil creeps past $4 and heads toward $5 i think we're going to be a lot more concerned about oil and it's going to become kind of a dominant political issue in this country over the course of the next several months. but you know, it's not just libya we've got to keep an eye on. you've got problems in yemen, problems in bahrain. you've got demonstrations proposed for later this week in saudi arabia, which of course is a much bigger oil provider. so we're right now focused on libya because that's where the fighting is. my guess is this is one of those stories that's going to churn across the region for months and months to come. >> okay. david rothkopf, thank you very much for your time. >> thank you. new questions about a potential republican divide this morning over gop promises to slash spending. on "meet the press" david gregory asked congresswoman michele bachmann if the tea party thinks the republican leadership hasn't done enough. >> i think what we're trying to do as republicans in the house is look for every place we possibly can to cut spending. we've identified $100 billion in
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cuts off of the president's proposed budget, 60 billion if you compare it to the 2010 budget. so we have done our part to look for cuts. but we can't end there. we have to also demand that we claw back the 105 billion that was deceptively already appropriated by president obama. >> the speaker has said that it would be irresponsible not to raise the debt limit, as will be called for soon. will you agree with him on that and do that? >> i am not in favor of raising the debt ceiling. in the last ten years we have raised the debt ceiling ten times. we are just giving the congress a license to keep on spending. and one thing the american people are demanding, because they want to see jobs created, they want to see the economy get on a good footing, in order to do that government has to take less so that the american people can keep more. >> you can catch that full interview with congresswoman michele bachmann right here on "msnbc sunday." we will bring you today's "meet
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the press" at 2:00 p.m. eastern. on wall street this week traders will keep an eye on the rising oil prices with the civil unrest escalating there in libya and with the protests planned for this week in saudi arabia. that is the world's biggest oil producer. as the unemployment rate edges lower, we'll find out just where the jobs are in this economy, from the government's jobs opening and labor turnover report. and this friday the government will give its reading on retail sales for february. the last monthly report showed overall sales rose by 4.2% as confident consumers started opening up their wallets. well, as we've said, the unemployment rate is back below the 9% mark for the first time since april of '09. the labor department says unemployment dropped for the third straight month in february, down now at 8.9%. neal irwin is a financial reporter for the "washington post" and with us always on our sundays. good morning, neal. >> good morning, alex. in november we had a 9.8% outlook for unemployment. are things much better now than they were in november?
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>> you know, we've seen some real progress since the fall on seeing some economic growth take hold. there's been a wide range of indicators not just on the jobs side but in terms of industrial output and retail sales. this is an economy that is gradually healing and starting to get better. now, are we going to keep seeing the unemployment rate drop a full percentage point every three or four months? that's highly unlikely. we'll probably see a much slower path down to lower unemployment. but you know, that said, we've seen some real progress and some real reason to have hope that this recovery is well entrenched and going to improve as the year progresses. >> yeah, but you know, we're down below 9%. i know when i saw that my spirits soared. is there a psychological lift? and was that 9% a certain threshold? >> i think there is. there's a sense that this recovery is really set in place and can build on itself and be self-sustaining. that's something that people weren't so sure of as recently as this past summer and early fall. there was a lot of talk of a double dip recession. that talk's gone out the window.
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we're seeing a recovery that's on its feet and really moving forward. now, that said, it won't necessarily become super fast. we're still kind of gradually clawing up. 9% is still way too high. you told somebody three years ago we'd be excited to be under 9% employment, they'd be pretty horrified. but there is progress. >> so what is the economic forecast for the rest of this year and going into 2012? >> i'm seeing a lot of forecasters expect a very gradual decline in unemployment because you know, we're not going to see a steep decline because a lot of people have dropped out of the labor force entirely, people have given up looking for work, they're frustrated. so as the labor market looks a little better, some of those people are going to come back into the job market and that's going to be an upward force on unemployment even as more people find jobs, which is a downward force. so we're not going to see the unemployment rate drop that much more this year. at the same time we can still see progress and still see job creation even with that trend. >> okay. can you see a point where, say, next year at this time we're talking about 8% or less? is that reasonable? >> absolutely. i think it's very plausible that we could be in the low 8s or
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even get under 8 by 2012. and you know, that's something that people weren't so sure of this time six months ago, whether we would really be on a sustained downward path for unemployment as opposed to staying in that 9% or 10% range where we've been. >> okay. neil irwin, i've got everything crossed right now, hoping. thank you so much. >> thanks, alex. we've been playing excerpts of charlie sheen's webcast yesterday and believe it or not, we have even more to bring you. more chatty charlie, next on "msnbc sunday." a taillight... ..we make a sculpture. we don't just make a sunroof... ..we make the heavens wide. we don't just make a crossover... ..we make a statement. the cadillac srx. we don't just make luxury cars, we make cadillacs. what can you do with plain mashed potatoes? when you pour chunky beef with country vegetable soup over it,
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so they can focus on serving their customers. but you can still refinance to a fixed rate as low as 4.75% at plus, get the best deal or we'll pay you $1,000. call lending tree at... today. new details are trickling out this morning about the upcoming royal wedding. the "sunday times" of london says the cost for security at prince william and kate middleton's wedding has risen to as much as $32.5 million, and that's because thousands of police officers will be able to claim double pay for working on
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a bank holiday. well, you may think it's not possible, but it's charlie sheen like you've never seen him before, starring in his own webcast. >> the past couple of weeks has been me cresting on a mercury surfboard, a tsunami headed toward them. and so during this odyssey, there's been a lot of -- there's been a lot of -- there's been a lot of wordsmithing. it's caught on. like an absolute global wildfire. i mean, how couldn't it? duh. so we're asking you now, what are some of your favorite lines that this warlock brain produced? >> well, the actor debuted his webcast last night. it's called "sheen's korner." it's tackling a variety of topics, even revealing a new tattoo. let's get some new details from dawn yannick editor at large for "life and style weekly." good morning. >> good morning. >> what's he saying in this website? >> if you could follow it. the tag line of the show is "if
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you're not in sheen's corner, you're with the trolls." maybe not the catchest tag line ever. but it's all charlie sheen all the time. he's surrounded by a few sidekicks including one of the goddesses. and they do some bantering. they have a segment called the winning news which is about regular people who in his opinion are winning. and of course the word "winning" and that phrase was said over and over and over again during this broadcast. we were saying if this had been a drinking game every time we day shot if he said the word winning we would be very, very drunk in five minutes. >> let's listen to a bit more. we're going to see if the word "winning" comes up. okay, everybody? you ready for it? here we go. >> i can never speak the truth enough to my people. i can never speak the truth enough to my people. can we spend a little money on air-conditioning or are we like over our budget? >> can we open a window? >> we don't want this -- we don't want this secret chamber of sound to escape. out of the normalcy of the human mill. >> again, again, experimental, but i'm sorry, this thing is
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going pretty damn good. >> it feels great. it feels great back here. >> winning. >> winning. >> winning. >> it does feel like winning. we're going to get to those in one second. >> lots of winning. what has the reaction been like to this? >> pretty unkind. from entertainment critics and from the twitter universe. people were saying that this was rambling, that it was very self-indulgent and that the show itself was in very bad need of a producer. and overall that it was oddly boring. which comes as a huge surprise because sheen has been spewing out all of these crazy sound bites over the past week. but of course if you're not reined in it just becomes a little bit crazy and not fun anymore. piers morgan actually tweeted about halfway through the show last night and said that howard stern has nothing to worry about just yet as far as charlie sheen taking over his serious gig. zblae. okay. well, an interesting review. thanks for bringing the clips and listening to it. dawn yannick, we appreciate that. >> thank you. he's a retired fbi agent who disappeared four years ago in iran. now there's new hope for his family.
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but the question is where is he? you're watching "msnbc sunday." [ female announcer ] it can creep up on you. dry skin. that's why there's lubriderm® daily moisture. it contains the same nutrients naturally found in healthy skin. skin absorbs it better and it lasts for 24 hours. later gator. lubriderm. your moisture matched.
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a wet weather system is drenching the east coast today with heavy rain and snow. that massive storm is barreling up toward new england after dumping rain on the midwest and triggering another round of floods. the weather channel's mike seidel is following this storm. he's in syracuse, new york, where it is -- say it ain't so. snowing. >> reporter: look how quickly things have changed as we talked to you earlier, alex, the ground was just getting white. we've got about an inch on the ground. roads are starting to get slushy here in syracuse. they don't care. they had a big basketball win last night. everybody's sleeping in. let me take you back, though, to the past couple of days where we've been dealing with heavy rain and earlier snow melt and earlier rainfalls over the past week. so the ground was saturated coming into the storm across the ohio valley, ohio, indiana, illinois. and there are many rivers now over flood stage. now, that doesn't necessarily mean towns are underwater, but the rivers are high and they will be coming down the next couple of days as the rain shuts
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down, but we have more rain coming in and more storms the middle of the week. we could have more severe weather. we had so far four confirmed tornados yesterday in louisiana. one fatality and a dozen injuries there in the town of rayne, louisiana. now back to the radar. you can see the rain coming up the eastern seaboard. we've got the flood watches out for the boston area. metro new york city. through the adirondacks. we have snow, heavy snow warnings, or certainly winter snow warnings. albany it's still raining. you'll change over to snow as the cold air moves in. and alex, here in syracuse we've dropped 25 degrees since midnight. it was 53 at midnight. raining when i came out this morning around 7:00. and it's now down into the upper 20s. so everything's going to freeze up. we'll look for eight to twelve inches here. we need seven inches of snow. and that will make this the fifth snowiest winter or season on record. we're at 160 right now. and this is a city that can snow into april and into may. the city resorts could pick up as much as two feet of snow before it winds down sometime on monday afternoon. alex, there you go. plenty of snow for you here
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upstate. just rain down there at 30 rock, though. >> kind of a dubious honor for those folks in syracuse if they make that top five snowiest winter. no, thanks. all right, mike, thank you. stay warm. a new breakthrough has been announced in the case of a missing fbi agent. robert levinson was investigating smuggling on the iranian island of kish when he vanished in march of 2007. the trail soon went cold but levinson's family now says it's received proof he was alive late last year. on thursday secretary of state hillary clinton issued a statement saying levinson may be in southwest asia and she is now asking iran for help finding him. jack reisch is a former cia officer and criminal defense attorney. and jack, another good morning. >> great to be with you again. >> i'm glad you're here. the circumstances surrounding levinson's disappearance on this island of kish just off the coast of iran, what was he doing there? and is what we are told he was doing really what he was doing? >> well, those are great questions.
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i mean, what we're hearing is that this was about smuggling. again, he had retired from the fbi and he was working for a private company. it has something to do with smuggling. but it appears it's actually gone more than that. there may have been a connection between some in the revolutionary guard, the iranian revolutionary guard, on one side and the russian mafia on the other. so there's a question on whether or not this is actually a criminal investigation, if you will, or something going on in that sense. but there's another back story that's out there that actually involves the person he was meeting. his name is daoud. and daoud may have had connections to the iranian government. so there's a question on just exactly what it was he was trying to accomplish. that's part of this story which makes it so very odd. >> there's been no ransom. no reward demands. no nothing. i mean, he just disappeared. if a guy was investigating smuggling, why would that be of appeal to take him? and who would do the tabliking? >> well, that's a great question as well. because the thing is if we're talking about four years now, i mean, this starts to become an
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embarrassment, first of all, for the iranian government on the one side, and if you're a criminal organization, if that's what you are, on the other, holding this man. at what point is there actually a benefit here? there's never been a ransom made. and if he were released as this point, i mean, who actually benefits here? the iranian government, who looks inept because they're not controlling their own borders, they can't control a criminal element? or if it's the iranian government themselves, you actually released somebody who can confirm that they were somehow involved with the actual kidnapping. i mean, either way this is not good for iran. the fact that hillary clinton, the secretary of state, has already said they're reaching out to the iranians for help, it'll be interesting to see what it is that the iranian government is willing or even capable of doing in this instance. >> what do we know about this proof that the u.s. supposedly has that he was alive at least as late as last year in southwest asia? what kind of proof would this be, and how would we get it? >> i think it's exciting if in fact he is alive. i mean, for his family in particular.
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the possibility is they have actual photos or they have somebody who was able to identify him at the time and say i saw him at this location in this spot. it's going to be one of those two. the question is how it is that the -- that they were able to get this information and who was able to do it. it does highlight one last point, though. and that's that there was a lot more connection between the u.s. government and the iranian government than we typically hear about. again, we broke relations back in 1979 after the fall of the shah, but there's been ongoing investigations, ongoing efforts by the americans and iranians based upon nuclear technology and other things, too. and this is just one more sort of difficulty. one more problem that gets in the way of all of those. so we'll see where this takes us next. >> we will indeed. all right, jack reisch, thanks so much for weighing in. well, i probably don't have to tell you, this but gas prices are at their highest level in 30 months, and this morning the obama administration says it may take action to keep those prices in check. that is next on "msnbc sunday." [ coughs ]
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